Monday, April 20, 2009

My First Funeral

The title sounds like a sitcom, but definitely wasn't funny or entertaining. I went to support my friend Lane at the first funeral since Hope passed away (I skipped out on one only a week earlier because I just wasn't ready yet) and it was quite an experience. It was the day after my last blog, and if you read "DISAPPOINTED!" on my last blog you could see the day before wasn't a good one. The service was at a beautiful piece of property right next to a 100-acre parcel that I've been working on for almost 3 years so I knew it well. The church was gorgeous, people were lined up like they were selling Hoff tickets in Germany trying to get in (as Norm McDonald would always say during his incredible tenure as the news anchor on SNL, Germans love David Hasselhoff).

That reminds me of a Jay Leno interview I saw once with the Hoff. He apparently had a pay-per-view concert once and it just happened to be the same night as the OJ chase (same night as the Knicks and Spurs championship game too but that is not really part of the story) so he was complaining that no one watched his PPV becauase of the chase. That's it, everyone knows they wait until after the concert has started before they purchase it on PPV. I die a little more inside thinking how someone so great with Knight Rider and Baywatch on his resume can fall so far. Now he's just one of the most downloaded Utube videos in his drunken rant on the toilet. Thank goodness nothing like that would ever happen to some of our other favorite actors like Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Don Johnson, or Robert Downey Jr.

I was off to the side visiting with Pasquale and Sam (Lane's son and husband) before realizing I better get in line. By the time we were getting close to the church they stopped having people sign the guest book and were just ushering us in around the sides. Just then Lane comes up, gives me a huge hug, and says we have chairs along the front now so come sit with us. Despite my penis and vagina speech during Hope's celebration, I am not the most comfortable person in churches like a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs (one of my all-time favorite dumb lines from a movie because not only was it a dumb line but it was the only line delivered in the whole movie by Michael J. Fox in the Secret of My Success with a mid-western accent and he was supposed to be straight from Kansas as Brantley Foster --- He was one upped though by Kevin Costner in Robin Hood whose accent kept coming and going for absolutely no reason throughout the entire movie).

Speaking of Costner, Bull Durham might just be the best all-time sports movie behind the Rocky series (you had to know that was coming if you read my blogs or just met me, even once) and I got to see Durham Stadium when I went up to visit with Will and Anna. If you're looking for a birthday present for me (or Mother's Day or Thursday) I'd love a Durham Bulls baseball hat. The season hadn't started yet so I didn't get to see the Bull or the get a free steak target in the outfield but next time I visit I'm hitting a game. I can just picture Nuke Laloosh (I'm guessing on the spelling Anna) tugging on his garter belt (now I'm picturing Tim Robbins wearing it so please find something I can stab my brain with to get that out of my head) saying to himself, don't think, don't think, while he goes out and throws a three-hit shutout.

So now my Mom and I are in front of the front row pew (the one for the immediate family) and about 10 feet from the podium. The service was absolutely beautiful and moving. Lane did two readings, her husband one, and they had a cellist (or celloist) that totally blew everyone away. I wish I could play a cool small instrument like that, drums, organ, or a grand piano, you know something you can easily take with you places. All I can start thinking about is Hope who never met her brother Ezra but knew Lane well would just be there smiling with open arms to accept him no matter what his past demons were. I just lost it, right there in the front row, crying my eyes out while I kept looking back at Lane and her parents holding it together perfectly. If I wasn't in the front row I would have bailed early but just couldn't without making a scene. I just sat there blubbering like when I was a kid and watched my brother Kurt palm a tailpipe on a motorcycle with both hands and his skinned just starting burning off and he couldn't let go (Tina the extra run-on sentences today are for you and just to see if Anna will lose it because in one of my last blogs she was the one suggesting I just switch over to men --- she does have a good point, we are a simple species and even after all my years I just don't understand women at all). I was absolutely helpless and inconsolable. I'm sure anyone that could see me was wondering who is this crybaby that sits in the front row, in front of the immediate family, and is crying while the sister and parents are cool as a mullett in 1991 in a $70 rental tux. Now that's cool!

For all of you that always wondered what the hell was Hope thinking by being with me now you know my secret, it was the mullett (thank you Joe Dirt for keeping the dream alive --- by the way I hope that movie was just the launching platform for an up and coming actor that I think the sky is the limit like Deniro or Pacino by the name of Kid Rock that acted his ass off in that movie while driving around a rocking Camaro). They had a powerpoint presentation and reception after the service but I just had to get out of there. Lane, I was so amazed by both you and your family's poise throughout all of this and just know if you ever need anything we're here for you. The service was absolutely a perfect balance of grace, beauty, love, and honest and I was honored to be there.

Ann-Marie (Hope's best friend that I just have always deal with and for some unfortunate reason Hope assigned her to watch over me) lives down the road so I went over to her house afterwards. She lost her dad a little while before Hope and had warned me the funeral could be extremely emotional. A couple of glasses of Sangria including killing the bottle I gave to her for her birthday (could tell because the top of the bottle was still indented from where I had dropped it --- see I like to leave my mark, not quite like Bill Clinton but a mark nevertheless) coupled with a good friend helping me got me out of the funk. Coop, her little son also helped as there's nothing like kids to get you back into what's important. We played (Coop and I that is), took a bath (Ann-Marie and I that is), and reminisced. Thanks Man-Marie for being there.

I am obviously dreading Mother's Day. Reese's class is practicing songs that they plan to sing, they're doing crafts with pictures of them with Mommy, and having a Mother's Day tea the Friday before. When they were practicing the Mother's Day songs he went off by himself and was upset/crying a bit. It's going to be hard, I think I'm going to pull him out of school that day and do something fun. I probably need to plan something for Mother's Day too that will be a great distraction. Any single Dads out there up for a day of debotchery with just the boys? Too bad my brother doesn't live closer. And to my Mom, I love you and we won't forget you either.

Since then things have gone better this week. Our weather has been gorgeous, both kids had soccer, we had an incredible 'fun'raiser that was a great success on Saturday night, and our Relay for Life team named after Hope is doing well. We raised over $1200 on Saturday night, I got to meet a lot of great new people, and Tom thank you for letting me borrow Judy for a short period that night. Next PTO meeting I'm making martinis. On Sunday this weekend we've got about 40 people coming over for the Relay team according to someone's estimate, and tomorrow night Reese's Pieces is having all his favorite buddies over from his school which we've never done while Natedog stays at Gran's. We're staying busy as always, and I know Whitney that I can't be alone with myself. Never have, I'll have time for that during my final nap. I've got to get a couple of short people off to school this morning, and that reminds me does anyone want to buy a Jeep or Durango?

I survived my first funeral with a little help from my friends, now I have to keep moving on by eventually going through Hope's things and consolidating vehicles so Andrea will stop making fun of me (older people tend to be overwhelmed by anything 3 or more so I understand Andrea why you tease me about it --- by the way if you have car trouble with a back-up vehicle you won't miss that dinner rush at Morrison's Cafeteria at 3 PM). I did not get through Hope's stuff before the community yard sale as much as I wanted to, but I'll get there. I am using both towel racks now, that's progress.


rach said...

Hey Jake,
I can remember Mother's Day being hard at school for me. Maybe chatting with the teachers and having NateDog or Pieces make things for either you or Gran might be helpful. It would have been for me.
I gotta tell ya, Joe Dirt is one of my fav's and always will be. I chose that movie to watch through cool goggles while getting an MRI, too. Takes the stress out. :) Actually, he talks a lot about "keep on keepin on.." good words to live by... :)

Glad you are choosing to keep your little is a fun one!
Our Maine weekend is shaping up to be in the 80's!
Take care,

Jennifer P said...

Yay for progress!!! And yay for our Relay For Life team!!! I look forward to our get-together on Sunday. See you soon!

J said...

Ugh...Mother's Day. I definitely think your idea of taking the kids out of school that day is a good one.
Anne Marie's Sangria is the best. That and the pasta she made while we watched reality TV will always stay with me. :)

Daddy-O said...

Don't worry Jake, there's a DB hat with your name on it up here.

Pam Anderson said...

I remember coping w/Mother's Day and found that celebrating the Grandma's kind of helped. Talk to the teachers and I'm sure they will be glad to help the boys do things for the Grandmas. The boys may surprise you and come up with something all on their own. This first Mother's Day will be the hardest - but you guys will get through it.
About baseball movies - I gotta throw "The Sandlot" in there as one to put on the list. It is one of my all time favorites and I've got my son hooked on it too. (He is almost 5). Field of Dreams would probably make the list as well.
Happy for all of your progress! (Maybe Anne Marie will share her sangria recipe - it sound like a hit!)

Anonymous said...

It was good to see you at school today. You are a wonderful Dad...NEVER forget that! Both the boys are blessed to have you, as you are to have them.


lane said...

jake - just read your blog for the first time since Ezra's death. oh, i am SO sorry for having you sit in the front row (actually in front of the front row). i was not thinking at ALL. i was in shock from my brother's death and shocked to see you there. you are such an AMAZING and SWEET man to even attend his memorial. i apologize for such oversight to your feelings. i did not even notice you were crying until the very end :( thank you for your love and support.